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The Ecuador Chronicles - 2010-11
A Dip in the Hot / Cold Springs;
                           A Beautiful Waterfall;
                                           And Don't Forget the Volcano
At the end of our last Chronicle Dalynda and I were on the way to Baños on the bus.  The trip went well, although just out of Ambato toward Baños we were the only two people left on the bus; we were asked to transfer to another bus - I carefully watched as our luggage was transferred.  I was having a small case of what Lonely Planet refers to as BSA (Backpack Separation Anxiety), even though we were not traveling with backpacks.  But within about 45 minutes we were in Baños - luggage and all, an early afternooon arrival.  We took a taxi to our hotel, a really cool place - Posada del Arte - which will be covered in the next Chronicle.
Baños is one of Ecuador's most popular travel destinations.  There is much to do here - just to list a few activities:  Hiking, Rafting, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, ATVing, Bridge Swinging, Volcano Watching, Massages, Day Trips to the Amazon Basin - not to mention bathing in the thermal baths.  The town is full of small hotels and restaurants.
A View of Baños

Small Hotel
Plenty of Shops and Restaurants
Want to Rent an ATV - A Lot of Selection
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Agua Santa
The Volcano
Baños sits on the slopes of Volcan Tungurahua - "Little Hell" in the Quichua language.  It became quite active in the late 90's; the town was evacuated for several months.  It has since calmed down, but still glows and occasionally spews ash.  From our hotel room window one night I noticed something glowing across the sky.  At first I thought it was lightning, but no thunder - I realized it was the volcano.  From that point the volcano was in the back of my mind.  Baños is a clean, beautiful, interesting town - and at an elevation of 5,000 ft it would be a great place to live.  But if you consider of buying real estate in Baños be sure to factor the volcano into your thinking.
The Baths and the Waterfall
There are several baths in Baños - after all, that is what the town is named for.  They are fed by thermal springs flowing from the base of Tungurahua.  The water in the pools has a murky appearance due to the high content of minerals, said to be very good for your health.  The best known of the baths is Termas La Virgen, an easy walk from anywhere in Banos - and there are changing rooms.  There are three main pools:  a hot pool - 120° F; a warm pool; and a cold pool - 60° F.
I was told there is a regime to follow:  7 minutes in the hot pool, the 3 minutes in the cold pool.  You do this seven times and it is good for your heart, or circulation, or your skin - I'm not really sure - maybe just your moral character; anyway, I decided  to try it.  At first the hot was very hot and moving from there into the cold was unbelievably cold, but after a few rounds both pools were reasonably comfortable.  And I have no doubt it was all very good for me - even though I forgot about sun screen and was burned from the tops of my shoulders up.
Pools, Waterfall in the Background

The Hot Pool - 120° F & Full of Minerals

The Cold Pool - 60° F; Not Many Brave Souls
Right next to the pools is the waterfall.  It appears to flow right out of the top of the mountain - a long drop.  After our healthful time in the pools Dalynda and I walked over to the waterfall and up the stairs to the observation deck.  For some reason this is not listed as one of the major Baños physical activities, but we quite enjoyed it.  If you should try this on your own keep in mind that the steps are quite slippery where wet.
The Waterfall
Dalynda on the Way Up - She Also got a Bit of Sun
Your Correspondent - Doesn't Even Realize He is Sunburned
And Still Getting More Sun - But the Vitamin D is Good
Waterfall - Straight Up
Next Week - A Cool Hotel; And Where You Gonna Go When the Volcano Blow!
Would you like to visit Baños for a Nice Sun Tan -
Find out how atLive Well Ecuador: